Three Thoughts On The LA Galaxy Draw Against The Chicago Fire

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Jelle Van Damme #37 of Los Angeles Galaxy clears the ball from Nemanja Nikolic #23 of Chicago Fire but is called for a penalty kick during Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against Chicago Fire at the StubHub Center on May 6, 2017 in Carson, California. The match ended in a 2-2 tie (Getty Images/Shaun Clark)

Editorial (May 11, 2017) – The LA Galaxy had an exciting but frustrating draw this past weekend against the Chicago Fire. Head Coach Curt Onalfo proclaimed that the Galaxy became a team that night, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to draw the match 2-2. We learned a few things about the LA Galaxy as a result; let’s break it down.

Three Thoughts On The LA Galaxy Draw Against The Chicago Fire

Captain Jelle Van Damme and Vice Captain Jermaine Jones were subbed out of this match in the first half. Onalfo made possibly the ballsiest substitutions I’ve seen a coach on thin ice make in subbing out his captain in the first half for tactical reasons. Van Damme committed the PK foul that led to Chicago’s first goal. Jones was subbed out just before half time after taking a cross to the face. He’ll be out a few weeks with an MCL injury.

Jones Is Not A No. 10 And The Galaxy Were Better Without Him:

For the second game in a row, the Galaxy came out in a 4-2-3-1. For the second game in a row, Jones started in the No. 10 role. In both of these games, Jones roamed around a lot. He didn’t get many touches. Nor did he create much offense. This was true for both the Union and the Fire match.

Once the substitution was made, Gyasi Zardes moved up top. Gionvi dos Santos moved back to the No. 10 role. Both had improved performances. I’m not one to wish ill health on players, but perhaps the injury to Jones will benefit the Galaxy tactically on the coming road trip.

Goal On Corners Without The Big Heads:

Both goals from the Galaxy came off set pieces on Saturday. Both involved defenders. Daniel Steres got a head to the ball to open the scoring. Then substitute Dave Romney got the primary assist on the equalizer from Dos Santos. Both goals came without Jones and Van Damme on the field.

Jones and Van Damme have a pretty good record of getting headers in the both on both sides of the ball. However, they’ve both had trouble finishing. Van Damme has 34 shots on goal in MLS (many of them with his head) and two on goal. He has yet to open his Galaxy account. Jones has seven goals in MLS play, two of them with his head.

I think we will see Van Damme start this weekend. He was made an example last weekend. I’d expect him to step up his game and thrive this weekend against the New York Red Bulls. As for Jones (once healthy), I’m not sure. Joao Pedro has looking not terrible┬áto Baggio Husidic. There’s a question whether Onalfo has the authority to take out a player with the tenure and salary of Jones. But the last two games have shown they’re better off tactically if he isn’t the No. 10 in a 4-2-3-1.

Bradley Diallo Hasn’t Been Bad At Right Back:

As I wrote about previously, Diallo has been decent in his last two starts at right back. He’s got a different skill set than Nathan Smith. He does work on both sides of the ball. He’s also decent in the air. This allows the Galaxy to have a third center back at times if needed. He had some good moments. We’ve still seen too small a sample size from Diallo and Smith to making any definite conclusions about either. They both need more minutes. For now, it looks like Diallo has earned another start.

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